Olivia Kirwin is a force be reckoned with . Because she is a force of LOVE! Always smiling in spite of every reason not to, but her spirit is one of those with a deep strength and deep faith. I am honored to have my dear friend sharing a LOVE story here during the Guest Blogger Month. This Irish lass is someone to look to for encouragement if you have hard knocks. Cuz someone like Olivia will take the knocks, turn them on their head, add in some laughs and instrumental accompaniment and before you know it, it has turned into a symphony of joy!
LOVE Life, all of it!
Right, so I have never written anything before, well except for those lovely assignments for college so please bare with me.
My name is Olivia. I am a happily married mum of 3 (mad) beautiful children.
I have always lead, what my mum would call, a busy life. If I wasn’t out socializing (dancing), I was out doing stuff (shopping). Generally being active.
I’ve always worked when I was young; doing a paper route, teenager working in the local supermarket. Then when I finished school I went straight into a large company to work and was only ever out of work if I was sick (broken foot, yup all the bones).
I married my childhood sweetheart Terry in 2006 and in 2008 and welcomed our first child, Ryan. Ryan was the most wonderful little baby, he was so badly wanted for so long and it was love at first cuddle.
Within 2 weeks of Ryan being born we lost my Grandmother. She had been sick for a while but was very upsetting to lose her so close to having Ryan. I spoke to my doctor on and off for the first few months, querying post natal, having a rough time recovering from the birth too. We put it all down to stress and went about life. Well for about 6 months anyway.
I went back to work when Ryan was 6 months old and within a few weeks started having problems with my eyesight. Again I didn’t pay much heed and put it down to strain for being back at a computer screen. Within a few days it worsened and I headed to Specsavers, my opticians. From there it was a whirlwind of several opticians looking and talking and then being sent into the Mater Eye and Ear. All this time I had no idea what was going on at all. Towards the end of the day 5pm ish, I was only getting to be seen by the head of ophthalmology when I finally asked what they were looking for. She was to the point and said “Optic Neuritis can be the first sign of **MS in women your age.” Needless to say that knocked me for six.
The next few weeks followed with test after test, I was very lucky to get a cancellation MRI appointment within a week of the initial appointment.
On Halloween, I know the irony of it, I was told I had **Multiple Sclerosis. All I remember saying over and over was “Ok but I need to get home now as it’s my son’s first Halloween, I need to go home.” My angel in all this was my Mum. She being both a mum and a nurse and a counsellor knew what to do, what to ask, how to manage me and so on.
That was 9 years ago. Even typing about what happened actually brought tears again. But through it all I have had the love and support of my family and dear friends.
Myself and my husband went on to have twins about 6 months after I was diagnosed. We always wanted a big family and decided after the diagnosis that we’d only put my body through 1 more pregnancy and we were blessed with twins. They are a joy, constantly smiling and messing and loving and hugging and cuddling.
My husband is my carer, whatever I can’t do for myself, he does. He does my injections 3 times a week. He tucks me up in bed when I’m sick. He holds me when I cry with how unfair it all is.
I don’t let MS get in the way of my life, where possible. If there’s a party to be had, I offer, as I love a good get together. If there’s furniture to be painted, you’ll find me in the garden, making a mess but loving it. If my daughter wants a unique dress, out comes the sewing machine. My friends, whether we’re out having a dance and a laugh or in watching a movie, we enjoy ourselves, every minute.
All of the things I have been able to do and will continue to do would not have been possible without the love and support of my family and friends. From my husband, to my parents, to my sisters, to my brothers in law and to my aunts and uncles, to my wonderful Grandparents (whom we lost this year) they have always believed in me, always worried but always, always loved me no matter what.
For me having a Positive Mental Attitude and the LOVE of wonderful family and friends has made my journey with MS that bit easier, that bit more interesting. And being quite honest with the madness of my household, a great laugh and fun.
To sum it up, I still love going shopping, especially for shoes!!!!! I love going out dancing, even if it means sitting down every 5 mins. I love going for a wander on the beach, it’s right beside us, as is a castle!!! And generally spending time having fun, being on Snapchat and acting the teenager with my friends haha!! I love gardening, baking, cooking, sewing, singing loudly and laughing (mainly at daft friends).
**Multiple Sclerosis is a neurodegenerative and autoimmune disease of the brain and the spinal cord. It causes problems for the body from the top of the head right down to the tips of your toes. The cause of Multiple Sclerosis is unknown and there is no cure. There are, however, various treatments that can help slow the progression of the disease.
I feel so blessed to have not only met Olivia on a few occasions. The first time was with her sister Caitriona (in photo above). I feel happy to call her a friend. She really is a shining example of LOVE in all it’s forms. She shares love all the time and her illness doesn’t stop her, as she said in her LOVE story, from enjoying life. She has every reason to be bitter about MS and it’s consequences. But she chooses to be positive and channels her energy into productivity. In fact she just graduated from college. She has her degree in beauty and I know all the hard work wasn’t easy but she can be super proud of her achievements!
Olivia thank you for sharing your amazing LOVE story! Most importantly thanks for being YOU, a loving and giving human being that this world is so lucky to have in it! I adore your family too and it’s defo an example to the rest of us of how to live a life of love in action! So God bless you all!